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The Very Very Very Very Very Definitive Story Of My Birth

May 30, 2015

Okay, maybe calling it definitive is a bit much, but it is hopefully the last time I ever have to repeat this for people or to anyone. I’ve told this story so much that it’s become a bit of a burden and I was thinking about it last night, “Yeah…what if I did have an entry that I could point back to so I never had to recount this again…” So this is it: I was born with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck which, apparently, is fairly common. What wasn’t so common was that I was basically dead, deadsies, floating up the river styx, etc. etc. I chose purple that day as a way of showing how royal I was. Okay, not really. But yeah, I was without oxygen for an undetermined amount of time.

And what do we all need? Oxygen. And what happens without it? Brain damage. It screwed up the motor skills on my right side but my mental faculties are as sharp as ever. I’m not ‘slow’ and I’m not ‘retarded’ and I’m not..whatever. I just can’t move my right hand in a nicely fluid way and the muscle tone in my hand is very tight. My physical therapists were quite annoyed whenever they did the stretching because it’s so tight. I type with a peck and push style that is actually quite fast. And I can’t write very well with my right hand and yeah, nobody writes very well in their non-dominant hand. Take that awfulness and make it slightly worse.

I can drive, I can walk, I can pretty much do whatever. I just don’t have a strong right side plus a limp and it’s been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I’ve seen people much worse off than me. I somewhat grew up with kids that had worse conditions than I have as I started in a ‘special’ school when I was 3. And I see more and more people worse off than me. The curse is that every time I see it I’m reminded that that could’ve been me and I wonder why I was spared that crippling horror and they weren’t. Then a nice wave of guilt washes over me–especially with the fact that my anxiety has crippled me to the point that I don’t like facing the world some days soo…my ‘blessing’ I feel like I’m wasting it and my life by not dealing with this anxiety.

People say growing up is no cake walk and that’s true and it’s especially true when you have a disability, even as mild of one as I have. I never got picked on that much because most of the kids already knew me and my story and never gave me too much grief. But the kids outside of the class would sneer and say demeaning shit. I spoke about this before, but when In Living Color did their Handiman, I was really given shit over that. That’s when mocking went full tilt and the kids started emulating him when I was around. As an adult I still find it hilarious and I can laugh at the stupidity and even then, but it wasn’t very funny when it was happening to me.

But you need a sense of humor about this because kids will laugh at you and mock you for it. What’s weird is I remember it mostly coming from black kids. I wonder if any of them had a sense of irony about that in their later years. By middle school it was an old hat and everyone knew me and they just didn’t care. Still, being fat and handicap is not the way to impress girls. I distinctly remember I sat next to one of the popular kids in my class, minding my own business and she came and sat down beside me. Then, for no reason whatsoever blurted out, “I don’t want to sit next to you.” Well, good on ya, I was sitting here first anyway and don’t need your kind of trash near me.

7th grade was when I could’ve turned this shit sandwich around because a substitute teacher asked me, “Were you in an accident or something?” Yes! Yes I was! Of course, out loud, I told her I was disabled and the very story that kicked off this entry. It’s not so bad having to tell the story, but when you’re trying to meet someone online and they ask about me and what I’ve been through and saying I’m disabled or handicap…yeah, most people (including me) will picture someone that’s wheelchair bound and/or drooling all over themselves. We know this isn’t the case and we pretend this isn’t the case, but we all do it. If I told you I was disabled without any context, how would you picture it?

Or maybe it’s just me and I feel overly sensitive to it due to some bad experiences in the past. Anyway, high school wasn’t too bad except for a few guys and they were all either on their way out of the school (dropping out or expulsion) or they failed a grade. Though, one time in Spanish class this girl asked a classmate of mine “Is he slow?” And swear she put her finger to her head and did the hand motion for crazy.

Adulthood’s been a blast but I did have one experience with a really old relative that tried to claim I wasn’t disabled because I wasn’t in a wheelchair or unable to talk. So even with people that aren’t entirely prejudiced against someone with a disability…I was pre-judged because I wasn’t disabled enough. Very strange times all around.

Anywhoo…sorry for the long entry. That’s just been my experience as someone with a mild handicap and hopefully this has been enlightening somewhat. Yes, I still find my inability to do some simple tasks amusing, because why not? Better to be able to laugh at your own shortcomings than have someone do it for you. At least then I can get the material right.

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